Healthcare Excellence Canada supports teams to improve access to team-based primary care in northern, rural and remote communities across Canada

January 4, 2024

Healthcare Excellence Canada supports teams to improve access to team-based primary care in northern, rural and remote communities across Canada

Healthcare Excellence Canada (HEC) today announced the 20 teams invited to participate in our Strengthening Primary Care program.

The program, which runs from November 2023 until September 2024, is designed to improve access to safe, including culturally safe, team-based primary care closer to home and meet the unique needs of northern, rural and remote communities.

Strengthening Primary Care brings together providers and organizations who help deliver primary care to work together with the communities they serve to advance their unique goals for improvement, while also sharing and learning with other primary care providers and organizations from nine provinces and one territory.

“The teams HEC selected to participate in Strengthening Primary Care are focused on the unique opportunities and challenges patients and providers in their areas experience, and the importance of access to excellent team-based care,” said Jennifer Zelmer, President and CEO of HEC. “Through the program, they will help spread promising practices and develop new approaches to improve access to primary care. We’re excited to see what the teams will accomplish and look forward to widely sharing their successes and lessons learned.”

Participating teams will receive:

  • Seed funding (up to approximately $50,000 per team)   
  • Virtual and in-person networking, coaching, and learning events to promote pan-Canadian, regional, and community-level sharing and collaborations   
  • Resources and capability-building supports   
  • Measurement and evaluation support   
  • Opportunities to inform development of new team-based primary care resources  

There are many ways to improve access to primary care services closer to home, and each is dependent on the needs and readiness of local patients and providers, as well as resources available to them. HEC recognizes that no two communities are alike, and as such, the program will provide tailored supports to help participating teams define goals and plans for improvement that meet the needs of unique communities, patients and providers.

“Team-based care plays a key role in providing access to timely, integrated and culturally safe family health services for people living in Canada, particularly those in northern and remote communities. By supporting the Strengthening Primary Care program, we are implementing models of team-based care that will transform how health care is delivered,” said the Honourable Mark Holland, Minister of Health. “We will continue to collaborate with Healthcare Excellence Canada, other partners as well as provinces and territories on best practices that will ensure that quality care is provided to people living in Canada when and where they need it.”

Strengthening Primary Care is part of HEC’s work to find and spread innovations that bring care closer to home and community with safe transitions. It also aligns with the federal, provincial and territorial governments’ efforts to improve access to family health services including in rural and remote communities.

Learn more about the program.